OLD CHORISTERS & Further Poems by E M Schorb

(i.)

OLD CHORISTERS

Singers                                                                                 
of our generation                                                               Look                                                       
are turning up                                                                    from
dead. A serial                                                                     a high bridge, 
killer                                                                                   as highway god,
is injecting                                                                          he drops
them                                                                                    stones on old bones!
with corona                                                                         Even the sap
plus cancer                                                                          of trees is worried
heart disease                                                                        up the trunk
and stroke.                                                                           as the killer
This police                                                                           waits 
silhouette                                                                             for an autumnal 
of the killer                                                                          weariness of
isn’t made                                                                            leaves.                          
of his head                                                                            I am 
and shoulders,                                                                      Time’s agent                                                                    
but of his                                                                              his tool                                                                       
twisted mind,                                                                        he brags.
made                                                                                     Singers  
of a brain                                                                              of our generation
to answer                                                                              think that this
for his crimes                                                                       is a serial crime, 
of torture                                                                              but have 
perpetrated                                                                           no choice                                                                          
on so many                                                                           but to
choristers.                                                                             become ringers
With a rough                                                                         and to pull
cat-tongue                                                                             the ropes
he licked flesh                                                                       and toll
from bones                                                                            the bell.
and made
the others
mercy-kill
to make
amends

 
 
(ii.)
 

THE LETTER, 1942
 
Twenty years . . . years of
l’entre deux guerres . . .
                         T.S. Eliot
 
               I.
 
His mother and father
could not understand
the extreme of his grief,
for his father’s other
son was only half his brother,
and had not existed
in their lives but for letters
and occasional photographs
taken around the world
where the war was, often next
to his Wellington, or by
a field tent, wearing his wings,
a smiling twenty year old
whom he, the child in a yard,
thought must look the way
he himself would look at twenty,
and be a brave pilot
and take up the war
against Hitler and Tojo
in his turn, not knowing
that even wars do not last
forever.  How could the child
be so devastated by the news,
who barely knew of his half
brother’s existence?  How
adults box things up
the child could not know
or believe.  Hard rain.
 

                II.
 
Rivers of rain, as when
you look up through greenhouse
glass on a rainy day, crossed
his green eyes blotting out the blue
dry sky overhead, and
he told the rain of his grief and
he told the blurred, ugly yard
behind the city row house
with its junked, warped
furniture and strata of
ripped linoleum, roses
and geometry, and its wet,
stalking cat along the old spiked
wooden fence, run with rusted wire
meant to throw yourself on, told
the whole world, which was
all the rain of tears
out of his breathless,
heaving chest, narrow
as a chicken’s, out
of his pounding seven year old
heart, and cowlicked hair,
that was trapped by the
four-sidedness of fence
and could not fly with his
grief as his brother the
pilot had flown, whom
he had never known.

 
           III.
 
Let the child race
pointlessly in 
circles, trapped in the 
square yard, and cry
himself out.  The letter
was already over a year
old and smeared with
his father’s few tears,
sad horrible history,
but must be set aside
 
so that life could go
on.  “He’ll get over it.”
“I never thought—” said
his mother.  “No, of course
not,” said his father.
But the yard was sodden
with the child’s grief,
whose head burned with hope
against fact that a mistake
had been made, that this fine
brother was yet to come to him
who had no one, whose
loneliness could not be
surmised by two wise parents,
kept sane by callousing death
and full of the hard world’s rain. 

 
 
(iii.)
 

FROM THE CRIB
 
From the deep recesses of the universe
he woke to find himself
gumming the blue lead paint 
from the top rail of his crib, 
blissfully unaware
of the crack in the Liberty Bell,
or the Liberty Bell itself,
for that matter; Mussolini in Abyssinia, 
Schicklgruber, in Guernica or the Rhineland, 
Tojo in China, 
or any of the problems
of the age into which he had been dropped. 
The lead paint was delicious and maddening,
and would, 
no doubt
make a mad poet of him.
 
He looked around and for the first time 
saw other humanoids (oops, hominoids), 
much bigger, but basically the same.  
They, also, wobbled on two legs, 
holding drinks to their lips,
as he held his empty baby bottle to his. 
One fell back into a faded, flowered 
easy chair, in what seemed,
even to his innocent eyes, 
a flat, shabby and small, 
compared with 
whatever had been before.
 
Years later, photographs would tell him 
who they were.  Someone had taken 
several Kodak snapshots. 
Here was his young Aunt, 
a fourteen-year-old schoolgirl, 
who hookied to the City of Brotherly Love
to help with her new nephew, 
the young Master, her big sister’s first child. 
An older boy would have noticed 
the beginnings of her breasts, 
and that she was a pretty young thing 
with startling blue eyes and 
chestnut waves piled up,
but he was unaware of 
these uplifting attractions.
The woman was his Mother.
Later he would understand
that at that point in her life, made-up 
and Marcelled, people said that she looked
like the actress Mary Astor, except 
for her harlequin-shaped glasses. 
The central figure, the one who had collapsed 
in the armchair, wearing what then he, 
himself not much more than an humunculus, 
would eventually discover—by these presents—
looked like the famous-at-the-time 
Arrow Collar Man. 
 
Well, that was his old man, tall, dark, and 
handsome alcoholic,
Depression-fallen from stocks
and bonds salesman, to selling 
The Book of Knowledge in the territory
assgned him by the publisher.
 
His young Aunt stuck a rubber nipple
in his mouth and quickly
the picture faded and never came back, ’til now.

 
 
(iv.)
 

MY WAR WITH ROACHES


                          Pitt Street, Lower East Side
 

I looked into a half-filled beer bottle
left opened and standing out,
saw six dead roaches floating atop the stale, flat beer.  
I was disappointed.
I could have drunk the stuff.
I had no aversion to warm, stale, flat beer, 
and had learned to put a head on it
by dropping an Alka-Seltzer tablet into it.
But I wasn’t about to drink beer that had
six dead roaches floating in it, 
bodies like boats and legs like oars raised up,
so aimlessly.  
The place was filthy. 
I needed order!
 
I went out, bought roach spray,
sprayed the walls, up and down, 
back and forth, until billowing clouds
of poison were closing on me from every corner.
It was bitter cold out, but I knocked the
cardboard out of the windows
and let the fresh frosty air suck the poison 
out from under my nose.
I blocked the windows again.
I surveyed the carnage.
Roaches of all sizes and shapes were swarming
over the walls, dropping from the cracked ceiling
with small, ticking sounds and 
rocking on their curled, chitinous backs, 
flicking, flailing, their feelers drooping.
 
The kitchen gas range was a stronghold,
a fortress of greasy grooves and baked-in crevices.  
I lit the oven and watched until the top
of the stove glowed red.
Out they came by the swarming hundreds, 
feet burned away, feelers melting 
into kinky hairs.  They ran over the stove 
in desperation, panic, trying to find places 
where they could put their feet.
Expectant mothers, their eggs in chitinous cases 
at their rear ends, struggled with their hindmost legs, 
as with an instinct to save their offspring,
to force or kick the cases loose.
Some had their cases dangling 
by only one side when they leaped 
from the top of the stove.  
As they landed on the floor and tried to crawl,
with their burnt feet, their dragging, kinked feelers, 
with their wings askew, and their dangling, 
thread-hanging egg cases, I sprayed them madly
then trampled, kicked, jumped up and down on them,
only wanting them dead.
I saw a fat, hideous albino roach, 
already like the pale ghost of its dead self, 
leap from the stove.  
I squashed it underfoot and swore 
I could hear its white shell crack and 
spray the pale muck of its insides out: squish! 
When I lifted my shoe it dragged itself, 
like animated pus, into a heap of glittering 
brownish bodies.  Thousands of crooked legs
moved sluggishly—then, here and there, 
with sudden convulsive speed—
over the place where the ghost had gone.
 
On the wall was a wooden plaque 
that held sets of false teeth, an exhibit, 
sold by a dental supply firm to dentists.
It belonged to an artist friend who was to use it 
for some arcane artistic purpose 
but who had forgetfully left it here.
I grabbed the plaque from the wall 
and mashed it down atop this horrible mass
of half life.  Then I jumped on it, up and down,
not distinguishing the sound of the breaking teeth 
from the sound of roaches snapping on the stove 
like popcorn.  When I looked down 
there were rolling and bouncing human teeth 
among the slimy dead and still crawling.
Sakyamuni says they will live again.
Needed:  Sneaky Pete, pot, peyote. 

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Schorb’s work has appeared in Agenda (UK), The American Scholar, The Carolina Quarterly, The Hudson Review, The Southern Review, Stand (UK), The Sewanee Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, The North American Review, Poetry Salzburg Review (AU), The Yale Review, and Oxford Poetry (UK), among others.
 
His collection, Murderer’s Day, was awarded the Verna Emery Poetry Prize and published by Purdue University Press, and a subsequent collection, Time and Fevers, was the recipient of the Writer’s Digest International Self-Published Award for Poetry and also an Eric Hoffer Award.
 
Most recently, his novel R&R a Sex Comedy was awarded the Beverly Hills Book Award for Humor.

 

 

 

Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at Artvilla.com ; You may visit Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author & https://poetrylifeandtimes.com See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)

Poets Out of Service (V6) By Michael Lee Johnson. Audio Text Poem

 

 

Like a full-service gas station

or postal service workers

displaced, racing to Staples retail

for employment against the rules of labor,

poets are out of business nowadays, you know.

Who carries a loose change in their pockets?

Who tosses loose coins in their car ashtray anymore?

iPhones, smartphones, life is a video camera

ready to shoot, destroy, and expose.

No one reads poets anymore.

No one thumbs through the yellow pages anymore.

Who has sex in the back seat of their car anymore,

just naked shots passed around online?

Streetwalkers, bleach blonde whores,

cosmetic plastic altered faces in the neon night;

they don’t bother to pick pennies

or quarters off the streets anymore.

The days of surprise candy bags for a nickel

pennies lying on the countertop for

Tar Babies, Strawberry Licorice Laces

(2 for a penny), Wax Lips, Pixie Sticks,

Good & Plenty are no more.

Everyone is a dead-end player; he dies with time.

Monster technology destroys crump fragments of culture.

Old age is a passive slut; engaging old age

conversations idle to a whisper and sleep alone.

Matchbox, hand-rolled cigarettes,

serrated, slimmed down, and gone.

Time is a broken stopwatch gone by.

Life is a defunct full-service gas station.

Poets are out of business nowadays.
 
 

 
 
Michael Lee Johnson
lived ten years in Canada, Vietnam era. Today he is a poet in the greater Chicagoland area, IL. He has 244 YouTube poetry videos. Michael Lee Johnson is an internationally published poet 43 countries, several published poetry books, nominated for 3 Pushcart Prize awards and 5 Best of the Net nominations. He is editor-in-chief of 3 poetry anthologies, all available on Amazon, and has several poetry books and chapbooks. He has over 536 published poems. Michael is the administrator of 6 Facebook Poetry groups. Member Illinois State Poetry Society: http://www.illinoispoets.org/
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at Artvilla.com ; You may visit
Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author & https://poetrylifeandtimes.com
See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)

Ode to Olivia. By Jack D. Harvey

 

Oh, Olivia, during
what disingenuous dialogue,
getting closer and closer,
you told me
in that bar by the seashore
“pretty good-time girl
comes once, comes often,”
eyelashes shyly lowered,
thick and lustrous,
lowered time and again
to hide the hard eyes
I knew were there.
 
I was surprised by
your interest;
vital with intent,
your lithe body
tilted towards me,
white teeth showing
in a smile, breasts
firm and unfettered
in your summer blouse.
 
Delirious with your fancy magic
I nearly fell off the bar stool,
fell like a fairy-tale frog
clear down to the bottom
of the mossy well, my member
swelling in your favor,
transported to
to your body’s joyful openings,
anticipating
hot and wet,
those ports of entry,
those sweet breasts,
that sweet tongue
flicking between your lips;
promises of things to come.
 
O ye spermy nights of the gods!
 
The rune on our canoe’s tail
says “enter here, ye of little haste”
and willows brush our arms
as we paddle down the river
of ardor and fulfillment
and coming together and
whatever else
we can muster up
from a time of dreams,
from the manna
of this earthly paradise.
 
Olivia, you were brown as a nut
from a summer of sun;
a glamorous summer goddess
there for the taking and still
it came to nothing.
A change of heart,
a parting glance,
and off you went.
 
Your naked this I never saw,
your curly that I never pawed;
alone in the majestic garden
of self I sit stiff and cold
as a block of ice;
a lonesome soldier in a sentry box
waiting for the gate to open;
it never does.
 
Olivia, you left me
as you found me
and just as well
for the both of us.
There we were
in that bar,
and there we are forever,
enshrined, inscribed
like Keats’ Grecian urn,
graceful outlines,
a frieze of some long past event,
at rest in that luminous
wasted moment forever;
no future, no past,
no time at all and
what never happened,
what is not there
just as real
as what is there.

 
 

 
 
Jack D. Harvey’s poetry has appeared in Scrivener, The Comstock Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Typishly Literary Magazine, The Antioch Review, The Piedmont Poetry Journal and elsewhere. The author has been a Pushcart nominee and over the years has been published in a few anthologies.
 
The author has been writing poetry since he was sixteen and lives in a small town near Albany, New York. He is retired from doing whatever he was doing before he retired.
 
His book, Mark the Dwarf is available on Kindle. https://www.amazon.com/Mark-Dwarf-Jack-D-Harvey-ebook
 
Ode to Olivia first appeared in Ramingo’s Porch
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at Artvilla.com ; You may visit
Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author & https://poetrylifeandtimes.com
See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)

My Voice. A Poem & Artwork by Kelly Sargent.

I am Deaf.

My fingers speak.
 

A coiffed paintbrush in my grasp,

my voice streaks turquoise and magenta

across a parched canvas.

Vowels coo through thirsty linen.
 

Click-clacking keys with my mother tongue,

I chew hard consonants

and spit them out.

Sour, a scathing sonnet can be at dusk.
 

Fingertips pave slick exclamations,

punctuated by nails sinking low into clamminess.

I sculpt hyperboles.
 
 

 
 
Bio:
 
Kelly Sargent is an author and artist whose works, including a Best of the Net nominee, have appeared in more than forty literary publications. A poetry chapbook entitled Seeing Voices: Poetry in Motion is forthcoming (Kelsay Books, 2022). A book of modern haiku entitled Lilacs & Teacups is also forthcoming, and a haiku recently recognized in the international Golden Haiku contest is on display in Washington, D.C. She serves as the creative nonfiction and an assistant nonfiction editor for two literary journals. She also reviews for an organization whose mission is to make visible the artistic expression of sexual violence survivors.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at Artvilla.com ; You may visit
Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author & https://poetrylifeandtimes.com
See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)

LIFE. A Poem by Amita Sanghavi

 
 
The tear,

The sigh,

The twinkle in the eye.

The whisper,

The wrinkle,

The silent, true story

You and I survive.
 
 
 

 
Amita Sanghavi teaches English in Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat Oman. She is MA from Lancaster University, UK. She is pronounced Ambassador of Poetry to Oman by World Poetry, Canada and Representative of Images & Poetry Art Movement, Italy and Affiliate Researcher at CELCE University of Leeds, UK.
Her poetry book “Lavender Memories” and two edited poetry anthologies were published in 2018, 2020 and 2021 respectively. Her latest book s ‘Astad Deboo: Poetry in Dance’
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at Artvilla.com ; You may visit
Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author & https://poetrylifeandtimes.com
See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)

VERISIMILITUDE. 5 Poems by Askold Skalsky

(i.)
 
KEYS IN A ROW
 
Perhaps someone
will play a melancholy
keyboard piece as I am
leaving, and, stopping
to listen, I’ll have a vision
of what is to come if I
linger, if I walk up
to the player, wait,
then ask some pertinent
question with an eager
mien, the seconds gone
when I would have been
outdoors in the clear,
the moment interrupted
with a careless insufficiency,
the scattered patterns
of my life converging
into a broken string,
a clappered wheel
on which the hours
tick and dance to
their inoperable end
 
***
 
to be released from a long
slow slough, much of it
impenetrable like the circle
of a dream manifest as reality,
frightful and avoidable,
a bag in a corridor laced
with shadows and squalor,
which the mere eye of me
is afraid to undo
 
***
 
moving through
the veins, a fire-
ball with dim
obbligatos and
dark copper
bangs, like old
radiator pipes
when the steam
hammers at high
velocity into their
joints, warming
the room and
almost waking
the sleeper from
his sleep
 
***
 
here in this morning’s morning
self-forgotten sullen twang
comes a star gilded and silver,
climbing still like the pine
branches tipped with needle-
frantic green, yes, caught
like a tiny chip on the great
waist of some spectre surface
emerging into the dissolving dark.
 
 
(ii.)
 
LANDSCAPE IN FALLEN LIGHT, WITH CHILDREN
 
Just an unimportant place,
radiant and ordinary,
deserving the utmost scriptory,
with golden quags
up to the knees,
the sun blotting the lough
like streaks of silver haze
settling in a quay.
No need for a raveled sky
of quizzical significance,
the wrangling heads
foundering in the streets,
questing the unending sop
of memory and imprecation
to put life into the big words,
immiserating the ivory dungeon,
as one antinomian calls it,
reduced to bah, to babbling ooze,
slightly ecstatic now and then,
what is preserved
when meaning is deflated,
page after page, of invisibility,
of pity for hope lost
in hell’s sunken bolgias,
or the faces strapped
to the skullbones
of the starving young.
 
(iii.)
 
NOW THEN, THE OPEN EYE
 
August’s close
but I already feel
the solitary cold,
a sleepless place
and zero of the night,
like an infinitive
without an end
and half reluctant
to begin. But solitude
is just a postlude
to the now where all
the wrongs set in,
a moment’s atom
out of kilter,
out of being true,
where finally the heart
may intermit its beat
with careless equanimity
or grave abandonment
like a nimbus
with its watery crystals
of deep ice,
washing the sorrows
from your face,
from all the lineaments
of being you.
 
(iv.)
 
VERISIMILITUDE
 

    After a passage from a novel by Virginia Woolf

 
Somewhere in the middle
I recall a brewer’s cart
and the genial narrator
describing the gray horses
that had upright bristles
of straw stuck in their tails
like sprouting plumes
above the small brown daisies
peeping from their haunches’ clefts.
And a woman, seeing
this slipstream brook
of burblings through her mind,
immediately brightens,
and sorrow drops away
like a feathered colander
sifting the prismatic richness
of her life, kindling with equine
pleasure an infinite hubble-bubble
of mysterious commotion
out of the pernicious flurries
of gone time, a lollop on horsetail
streams with straw-thatched coronets,
whimsical and vagulous,
like sea-green sprites,
bedraggled by happiness
and blessed with silly dreams.
 
(v.)
 
PROBLEM, SOLUTION, ETC.
 
Her academic pedigree
was impressive–Swarthmore,
Columbia and the Sorbonne.
But toward her hundredth year
she confronted her biggest source
of perplexity and vexation,
the state of being weary
and restless through lack of interest,
and began her day
with crossword puzzles,
then the game shows on TV.
Did she return to these
as the day continued to impair
itself by attrition?
Ramakrishna used to rebuke
card-playing oldsters—
Had they nothing better to do
on the verge of their greatest change
of outward form or appearance?
Are crosswords any better?
Should Kurtz have done puzzles
in the dark, filling words into a pattern
of numbered squares in answer
to correspondingly numbered clues
to prevent facing the abyss
before him, the memories in him?
What is a six-letter word
for a painful emotion
compounded of loathing and fear?
 
 

 
 
Originally from Ukraine, Askold Skalsky has published poems in over 300 online and print periodicals in the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, mainland Europe, Turkey, Australia, and India. He is the recipient of two Individual Artist Awards in Poetry from the Maryland State Arts Council, and is the founding editor of the literary magazine Hedge Apple. A first book of poems, The Ponies of Chuang Tzu, was published in 2011 by Horizon Tracts in New York City. He is currently at work on several poetry projects, including a poetry cycle based on Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons. A book of poetry, Shapeless Works of Partial Contemplation, is due to be published by Ephemeral Arts Press in November.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at Artvilla.com ; You may visit
Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author & https://poetrylifeandtimes.com
See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)

Wearable Art. Poem. Kate Meyer-Currey

I’m a talking point at work (according 
to my friends in the smoking shed) for 
my rogues’ gallery of eclectic leggings.
I work in forensics, jeans are banned 
and skirts are inappropriate. So, by 
accident, I became a connoisseur
and curator of (possibly) the largest 
private collection of these garments
in the country. I started small, with
some mild animal print and floral 
patterns, like tasteful watercolours 
by drawing-room ladies. These were
popular with audiences so I got bolder 
and trawled the internet in search of 
rare subjects by obscure artists. Next 
I ventured into Fauve and Abstract 
Expressionism: sugar skulls grinned 
from my thighs while Kahloesque 
tropical foliage twined up my legs 
like lianas. Parrots and tigers made
me the baddest cougar in the jungle. 
From landscape, I moved indoors and
had a phase of moody, contemplative
interiors, memento mori and still lives,
with death’s-heads, heavy tomes, 
drooping roses, and Mary Magdalen 
repenting her shady past by guttering 
candle-flame, my form obscured by
smoke and mirrors. This chiaroscuro 
intensity gave way to outdoor relief
as the Garden of Eden took root, in
the clear outlines and spare colours
of the Northern Renaissance. Adam 
and Eve were chastely nude and 
aroused no comment. However, the 
serpent’s location and destination 
caused ribald speculation amongst 
the ladies. My tour de force was 
Bosch’s ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’
and his psychedelic vision of the 
human condition seemed to strike 
a chord with my public’s internal 
world, of private delusion and its
face of routine pragmatism. They
sometimes joked there was a room
spare if I wanted to join them on the 
ward. While some of my more fragile 
canvases are being restored I’ve 
brought some museum pieces out 
of storage. So far it’s been alchemical
symbols, a Viking longship and Egyptian 
tomb-paintings. I, myself, may be the 
oldest living exhibit on record. Autumn 
is on us already, so the last gasp of 
summer means I’m planning ‘Sunflowers’ 
next before I hang ‘Hunters in the Snow’.
Unless Covid comes back and I have to 
close down the show under the Rothko-
blue pall of my strait-jacket scrubs. In 
that case, I’m breaking bad: I have a 
set in jumpsuit orange. No stripes or
arrows, though. Banksy’s definitely next. 
 
 

 
 
About Kate Meyer-Currey’s poems
 
Kate Meyer-Currey moved to Devon in 1973. A varied career in frontline settings has fuelled her interest in gritty urbanism, contrasted with a rural upbringing. Her first chapbook ‘County Lines’ (Dancing Girl Press) comes out this Autumn. Her second Cuckoo’s Nest’ (Contraband Books) is due in February 2022.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at Artvilla.com ; You may visit
Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author & https://poetrylifeandtimes.com
See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)

Inventory Poems by John Okey

 
(i.)

Steps
 
These days,
sequential in their order,
random in their events.

Yet,
I am supposed to come through
	every 24 hours
With some sort of understanding,
a plan for the next day,
and the same every day after.

What am I supposed to do?
Control the guessing…
	Suppress the panic…
It’d be more human
	to be a lab rat
or a lamb
	in a Chicago slaughterhouse.

I am stupid with my intelligence.
I sequence,
Collate,
Numerate,
Alphabetize,
Chronicle,
Dewey Decimal, 
Periodic Table,
even square root…

All fucking useless.
More importantly,
it all misses the fucking point.

 
(ii.)
 

Inventory
 
I am the poet,
a disaster in stanza,
the upside-down verse,
enjoying one good mistake
	after the next.
Turn in each ugly line 
sloppier than the last.

The pen is a weak sword
	against suicidal woes.
I scribble nothings across
	scraps of paper.
Really anything I can get
	my hands on,
then lose before I get home.

My attempts at bringing
	the dark side to the outside.

 
(iii.)
 

Double-Checking the Inventory
 
No shine.
No polish.
No pretense.

I am dirty and unkempt.
I from when I should smile.
I am a disaster in every
	human way.

Lacking popular respectability,
I revel in my ill-repute.

My style is blue jeans and t-shirts.
My attitude is to smirk
	with a hint of alcohol.

I am the question mark
and the exclamation point.
The means without an end.

 
(iv.)
 

Final Inventory
 
As a sane man,
I am a catastrophe.
As an insane man,
I have it rather tied together.

 
 

 
Bio
Okey is a forty-four-year-old bakery employee. He has written poetry since he was a teenager. It was during the pandemic that he finally decided to publish his work. A novel, This Here Night Life…, and a poetry collection, Back to Masturbating Monkeys and God’s Plan, are available on Amazon. These poems are reprints from his poetry collection.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at Artvilla.com ; You may visit
Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author & https://poetrylifeandtimes.com
See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)